Author Topic: Under the Bed - Fantasy  (Read 1964 times)

Offline Srednivashtar

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Under the Bed - Fantasy
« on: July 05, 2006, 12:52:34 AM »
Okay, here goes. This is the first part of a 2,846 word story I wrote for a fiction-writing class. I'd say it falls in the Fatasy genre but as for the specific sub-genre I'm not really sure what you'd call it. For the most part the story is quite sad, but I tried to end it with a ray of hope. If anyone is interested in reading and giving feedback on the story as a whole, I'm happy to email it to you.

'Under the Bed'

Something stirred inside the wardrobe.

Lying stiff in her bed, the young girl watched as strange shadows slipped and glided across the walls of her room. This twilight hour, eerie in the uncertain play of light and darkness, was always her most hated time of day, for she fancied that she saw in the surrounding shadows the forms of those demons who haunted her nights and forced her into restless, unnatural sleep. Nervous eyes darted about, finally resting on the door of the wardrobe, slightly ajar. The girl let out a scream, but the sound caught in her throat and came out as a gurgle, muted by the large down doona she had pulled up to cover half of her face. 
When the door to her room opened, letting in a stream of white light, the girl was still lying transfixed. "Are you okay, Precious?" came the voice from the light, velvety and soothing.

The child relaxed slightly at the familiar sound, then turned to face the stream of light.  "M-mummy! I'm scared!" she said, beginning to cry.

"Ssshhhh, Precious, shhh," came the voice of the girl's mother. "What are you afraid of?"

Swallowing her sobs, the child looked back toward the wardrobe. She whispered, "There are monsters in the wardrobe."

The child's mother chuckled softly, moving toward the side of the girl's bed. "Oh, I don't think you have to worry about monsters in the wardrobe." She sat down and began smoothing the wrinkled pink tulips of the doona with her hand then, after a pause, leant in toward the little girl. "You don't ever have to worry about monsters in your wardrobe," she said in a voice much darker than that she used before, "because if any monsters try to bother you the dragon under your bed will eat them up."

There was silence for a moment as the child digested these words. The mother sat up again, straight-backed, and continued flattening out the doona. There was a note of fear in the girl's voice when next she spoke. "Dragon? Like the one in my picture book?"

The mother picked up the book that lay beside the child's bed and examined the pictures critically. She stopped at one in particular, a gleaming white knight battling an emerald dragon. The creature was magnificent. Fire poured from its open jaws and its grand wings were spread in an attitude of flight. She returned the book to its place. "Oh don't worry," she said matter-of-factly, patting the bed. "The dragon may be strong and powerful like the ones in your books, but it's a good dragon. Your very own dragon."

Leaning over the side of the bed, the girl lifted its ruffled skirt as though to peek beneath, but thought better of it. "Under my bed?" she queried.

Her mother nodded and left the room without another word, taking the stream of light with her as she closed the door.

Confused, but significantly less afraid, the girl wriggled back under her covers, closed her eyes and whispered tenderly into the night, "Protect me, dragon."

As she rolled over to settle into sleep the bedsprings whined and groaned, mingling with her gentle breathing to form a quiet melody.


And that was my first lullaby.

I live in an obsolete space, a space only defined by its relation to other objects. On top of the carpet. Under the bed. I do not remember a time before this life under the bed. As far as I know I have always been here. This was my nursery. This is my home.

Offline Dave King

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2006, 09:32:54 AM »
Hey, Srendi,

    Two quick points.  First, notice how often you describe the little girl's emotions (the "confused, but significantly less afraid" caught my eye).  Second, note how distant your point of view is.  You refer to the little girl by terms she would never use herself, and the language is more sophisticated than a frightened little girl is capable of managing ("examined the pictures critically").  So it's hard for readers to get into the little girl's head, to feel her fear.
    This is the beginning of a story, of course, and you may have written in this distance on purpose.  But if not, you might want to try for something more intimate.

Take care,

Dave King
Co-author of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
www.davekingedits.com
Dave King
Co-author, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Offline Srednivashtar

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2006, 07:53:33 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Dave King

mmm...now that you pointed it out, "confused, but significantly less afraid" does sound a little awkward. I'll play around with that part a little and look through to try and rework the way I've mentioned the girls emotions throughout.

As for the distant view, yeah, that was deliberate. The rest of th story is told from the dragon's point of view so this opening scene is basically like a birth scene for the dragon, which I couldn't have him narrate. Do you think it works if that's my intention?

Offline Saffron Piskie

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2006, 06:15:45 AM »
Hi Srednivashtar,  I think it works.  I love the idea of this being the dragon's story and how he lives under the bed as a protector.  I also like the way he comes in at the end of this particular passage.  The only thing I had a little trouble with was the slightly sinister feeling the mother gave off and this was because of the line 'she said in a voice much darker than that she used before'.  I think you're trying to build up a bit of darkness for the tale, but I'm just not sure connecting the mother to it works because it makes me confused as to the mother's agenda at this point in the tale.

Offline Dave King

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2006, 10:28:15 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Dave King

As for the distant view, yeah, that was deliberate. The rest of the story is told from the dragon's point of view so this opening scene is basically like a birth scene for the dragon, which I couldn't have him narrate. Do you think it works if that's my intention?


Yes, or at least it could.  It's a bit hard to tell without reading the entire thing, of course, but if the rest of the story is from the dragon's point of view (i.e. written so that readers really see things through the dragon's eyes) then your opening effectively becomes a prologue.  And there's no reason that it couldn't be in a different style and viewpoint than the rest.  And I can see that, if you were to write it from the girl's point of view, you might lead readers to believe the story was primarily about her.

   On the other hand, if the story is still largely about her, even if it's narrated by the dragon, there's no real reason why you couldn't write your opening in an intimate point of view using her as the viewpoint character.  It depends on how much the rest of the story hinges on her feelings and the transformations in her life.

Hope this helps,

Dave King
Co-author, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
www.davekingedits.com
Dave King
Co-author, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Offline Tyger

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2006, 12:03:38 PM »
I would love to read the rest of the story. The dragon's first words intrigue me.
It might be easier to see how the opening relates to the dragon's talle.

Tyger

Offline Srednivashtar

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2006, 07:55:53 PM »
Well, as a few people have mentioned it might be better to understand if I give you a little more of the story, here's another slice starting from when the dragon takes over the story:

And that was my first lullaby.

I live in an obsolete space, a space only defined by its relation to other objects. On top of the carpet. Under the bed. I do not remember a time before this life under the bed. As far as I know I have always been here. This was my nursery. This is my home.

There is very little room here for me and what little space I have is shared with broken toys and tattered books and a host of other half-forgotten items. To fit I must crouch down as much as possible. Forever hunched in this awkward pose, my limbs have become deformed. I am an ugly, wretched, twisted figure who should have been great.

It was, I think, the mother who called me here, unknowingly dragging me from the depths of oblivion. I was a joke, something created by the mother to soothe her frightened child. The mother made me up and the child believed her and so I was real. Such is the power of a child's faith. Sometimes when I would hear the mother talking about me in her bedtime stories to the child, when I heard the word '"dragon" falling from her lips, I would fear that I had been discovered. Then I would realise that she was just playing a game, that I was not real to her. Sometimes, that frightened me too. Sometimes it just hurt.

I did not want them to find me, but keeping my form hidden was no easy task and so, as a matter of necessity, I developed an immense talent for folding myself. I can fold myself upward, inward, beneath my mangled wings. Folded once I take the appearance of a crumpled pile of clothes. Twice-folded I am, perhaps, some discarded doll or teddy-bear. Again and again I fold myself until I fold up into the shadows themselves.

My purpose in life is simple. From my first moment of consciousness I knew by a feeling in my bones, a stirring in my blood, that I must protect the girl. I was to lay here, to watch and to wait, my lidless eyes fixed on the crack under the wardrobe door. They only come at night, those strange creatures that it is my duty to destroy. They slip through the slit beneath the wardrobe door silent and sly.

Sometimes, with the larger ones especially, I would leap out at them from beneath the bed. Wrapping my body around them I crushed them until there was nothing left but a pile of dust and bones and their tortured wails, which soon disappeared into the air. More often, though, all I was ever required to do was lie patiently and lure them under the bed and into my waiting jaws.

Not all nights were so demanding, of course. On some quiet nights when the wardrobe was still and the moon was high I would abandon my vigil and climb up the metal posts of the bed to gaze at the girl as she slept. This is, in fact, one of my earliest memories.

I had been waiting for hours that night and there was no hint of my enemies. There had never been a night like this, where there was not at least some small threat for me to vanquish, some tiny imp or goblin. I grew restless and uneasy and at last made up my mind to visit my ward, that my eyes might see what it was I was fated to protect. Cautiously at first, I inched myself out from under the bed, hearing joints pop with every movement. The window had been left open that night, but the breeze was so faint that there was only the slightest disturbance in the lace curtains. Dew had gathered in the corners of the window pane and seemed to glitter with the promise of frost. Once the front half of my body had emerged, I began to wind myself up and around the dull brass of the girl's bedpost until I reached a position from which I could view her.

I couldn't breathe. My chest seemed to stretch out, tightening like the skin of a drum. There, so close I could touch her, so close I could feel her breath on the tip of my nose, lay the girl. With the pallid light of the moon resting on her gentle face the girl looked like some ethereal creature, some angel carved of pearl. I leant in close and whispered dreams into her ears.

Offline Tyger

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2006, 08:44:44 PM »
Wow! This is poetically beautiful! And I adore the creature already, in all its crippled glory.

"More often, though, all I was ever required to do was lie patiently and lure them under the bed and into my waiting jaws." 

This is so reall, I can see it happening. I can hear the dragon's jaws snap down on its catch.

Be careful with your use of "would". Often ithe simpler form (using past tense) works better.

i.e. "Then I would realiise..." rather: Then I realized.

Sometimes it is better to use "often, sometimes," etc. i.e. for "I would abandon..." I might try "I often abandoned..."

The paragraph on folding seems a bit awkward, with perhaps too many repetitions. I'm not sure how else I would say that though, so I should probably leave it alone.

Please keep writing this. It is magical, and it is poetry. It is definitely a winner.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.

Tyger

Offline Srednivashtar

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Re: Under the Bed - Fantasy
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2006, 12:46:57 AM »
Wow, Tyger I'm really flattered. Thankyou so much for your kind words. It's nice to know that someone other than me enjoys the story.

Looking back, I do see what you mean about using 'would' too often. I might try and have a play around with that, see when it has more impact and when I would be better off just using the simpler past tense.

I will try and look over the folding paragraph again. If I come up with something I feel works better I'll let you know.

Thankyou!